Senior officer loses badge after dispute

6/4/2013
BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Officer Robert Adams, right, is presented with badge No. 1 by then Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre during a Toledo police department promotions ceremony in February, 2010.
Officer Robert Adams, right, is presented with badge No. 1 by then Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre during a Toledo police department promotions ceremony in February, 2010.

The most senior patrolman on the Toledo Police Department was relieved of duty after reportedly breaking a window of a family's vehicle outside of a grocery store.

Stripped of his gun, badge, and police powers is Robert Adams, 62, who would, next month, have 36 years with the department.

Two simultaneous investigations are ongoing: a criminal investigation, handled by the Lucas County Sheriff's Office, and a Toledo police internal affairs investigation.

Sheriff's Major Ron Keel said reports were forwarded to the Sylvania prosecutor to see if charges are warranted. None were filed in Sylvania Municipal Court as of Monday evening.

Mr. Adams is accused of punching and breaking a window of a silver Mercedes, at Kroger, 1414 Spring Meadows Dr., on Saturday night. The car is owned by Trena Cook, 37, of Springfield Township.

Robert Adams
Robert Adams

Mr. Adams is currently being paid, but his status could change as the investigations continue, Sergeant Heffernan said.

“We don't like to make rash judgments,” Sergeant Heffernan said. “We did what we thought was best given the information we had yesterday and we relieved him of duty.”

In a report from the sheriff's office states Mr. Adams, who was off duty, tried to get the driver of the Mercedes to move the vehicle from a fire lane.

The driver, Jerry Easter, 43, of Springfield Township moved the car, but parked there again, the report states.

Mr. Adams, who was off duty and in his street clothes, got his ticket book from his vehicle and began to write Mr. Easter a citation, the report states.

In Ohio, any sworn officer, when out of their jurisdiction, has arrest powers anywhere in the state for felony charges. The alleged parking violation would have been a misdemeanor.

The report states that Mr. Adams told a deputy at the scene that he was “well aware that he had no such authority to do so, but he was upset that Mr. Easter was parked there.”

The dispute continued and escalated when Trena Cook, 37, of Springfield Township, began to load groceries into the Mercedes and Mr. Easter took a picture of Mr. Adams.

Mr. Easter then took a picture of Mr. Adams' vehicle. Mr. Adams asked Mr. Easter for his identification, which Mr. Easter declined to give him, the report states, prompting Mr. Adams to pull open Mr. Adams' vehicle door.

That's when, the report states, Mr. Adams punched and broke the vehicle window. As the Mercedes drove away, Mr. Adams reportedly kicked the vehicle.

A woman at the home of Ms. Cook and Mr. Easter declined to comment.

Mr. Adams did not return a message seeking comment. Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, also did not return a message seeking comment.

Sergeant Heffernan said there were no prior disciplinary reports in Mr. Adams' personnel file.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.